Recovering and rebuilding after a hurricane or serious storm can be a difficult task. It is painful to see your home and furnishings destroyed by rain, wind, and flooding. But you can take comfort in knowing that you have a homeowner’s insurance policy that provides coverage in these cases. You fill out your proof of loss statement, provide documentation as evidence of your items’ value and repair or replacement costs, and submit it to your insurance company. However, things do not always go as smoothly as you thought they would.
Your insurance company may undervalue your items, contest the repair estimates, be difficult to reach by email or telephone, or offer you a settlement amount that is less than what you need to repair or replace your items. If these or other actions have affected your claim, you have options.
If you have submitted a claim to your insurance company and are disappointed in their response, or they haven’t responded at all, a storm loss property claim lawyer in Gainesville may be able to help. Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1 (800) 747-3733 for a no-cost case consultation.
Storm Losses Happen All the Time
Florida is no stranger to catastrophic storms. When a storm hits, thousands of claims flood the insurance companies at the same time. Insurance companies may have to hire adjusters from out of the area that are unfamiliar with the cost of repairs or the replacement value of furnishings and other items lost during the storm.
You can be ahead of the game by knowing exactly what your insurance policy covers, and doesn’t cover, before a serious storm or hurricane hits. You can also prepare by collecting as much documentation as possible about home repairs, estimates, invoices, and receipts in case the insurance company needs more proof of your losses. To get help preparing your claim for submission or filing an appeal for your existing claim, contact a storm loss property claim lawyer in Gainesville, FL, at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1 (800) 747-3733.
Understanding Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
Many people buy a homeowner’s insurance policy but neglect to really sit down and read what is in it. Some things to look for are:
- The language of the policy, which may be unfamiliar. Understanding terms such as “limits,” “deductibles,” “exclusions,” and “endorsements” as they are used in insurance policies is helpful to understanding the extent to which your property is protected.
- Requirements that are your responsibility, such as taking steps to prevent further damage to your roof, windows, and doors by placing a plastic tarp over a leak in your roof.
- Many insurance policies contain exclusions that can affect what is covered. For example, many policies exclude some types of water damage. Flooding is usually excluded because the federal government provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- Limits and sub-limits are important terms to understand. Some policies have restrictions on coverage for personal property such as expensive jewelry or rare art.
Insurance Company Deadlines and Response Times
The insurance company has time limits, known as the statute of limitations, within which they must respond to your claim. They must respond to you after they have been notified of your claim, confirm that they have received your submitted proof of loss statement, and update you as to the status of their investigation into your claim. In addition, they must also make sure that you receive a copy of the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights.
The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights
The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights informs you about the time limits the insurance company has to respond to you, your right to enter into mediation with the insurance company through the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Consumer Services, which is at no cost to you, and the assistance available to you through the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Consumer Services.
The Proof of Loss Statement
The proof of loss statement is an important document which the insurance company needs to process your claim. It will generally ask you to total the losses you have, submit documentation to prove all your claims, ask you to submit the date and cause of the loss, and ask you to list anyone else who might have an interest in your property, such as a mortgage lender.
It is in your best interest to be honest and forthcoming with your responses to make sure that the insurance company doesn’t have a reason to deny or devalue your claim. The proof of loss is a sworn statement, so if you intentionally lie or misrepresent your damages, you may face charges for insurance fraud. If you are unsure about how to fill out the statement and need a storm loss property claim lawyer in Gainesville, contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1 (800) 747-3733 for assistance.
I Do Not Understand Why My Claim Was Denied
If the insurance company denied your claim and you want to appeal the denial, or if they have seriously undervalued the losses you have suffered, a property claims attorney can help. Your attorney will:
- Conduct an investigation into the losses your property has sustained
- Send an adjuster to your home to assess the losses and generate a report that may be helpful when negotiating a fair settlement amount
- Enter into negotiations with the insurance company and present any new evidence substantiating your claim
- Draft and file an appeal
- Help you file a lawsuit against your insurance company if the appeal is denied
If you have suffered property losses after a storm and want to file a claim, or if your claim was denied or undervalued, contact an attorney for help. Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1 (800) 747-3733 to learn more about what a storm loss property claim lawyer in Gainesville can do for you. We can help you receive assistance in getting a fair settlement in recovering after a natural disaster.